Background: Direct Bookings remain key
The internet is alive with the constant traffic of excited travellers trying to find the best deals on their vacation plans. It’s difficult to stand out, especially in internet searches, when huge Online Travel Agencies (OTAs) are finding their way to the top of search pages. OTAs can be helpful for filling beds, but with high commission prices, they can be frustrating when you find you’re losing visitors to your own website. Therefore investing in online marketing is today key for any hotels around the world.
Finding a way to generate direct bookings to your website instead of through OTAs can be difficult. There are many things you can do, apart from offering the best room rates, to gain visitors and build strong relationships.
Tactics and Recommendations
Make it Easy to Book
Nothing can sway a website visitor from continuing the booking process than a slow, unresponsive website. If potential guests can’t easily get through your website pages, they are more likely to leave and find an OTA, which may potentially lead them to book with another hotel. 80% of all hotel bookings are done from a mobile device. Is your website mobile friendly? You may nod your head, but is your website mobile responsive? Many websites can be viewed on a mobile phone, but by setting it up to respond and adjust to different devices, you’re suddenly making the direct booking method a million times easier.
You can make booking a one-page operation, instead of making them click through multiple pages, each giving them a reason to leave a book elsewhere. Try an online booking agent software like Ezee reservations.
Keep a “book now” or other similar button or CTA somewhere conspicuous on each and every page.
Offer an Incentive and Advertise It
Many hotels are attracting guests to their website by offering incentives, like free breakfast, for those who book directly through the site. The best incentive to offer? A free room upgrade such as a balcony room is always enough to pull any hotel seeker into your website. Once you have an exciting incentive to offer, find a way to let travellers know by posting ads on common vacation websites and other websites.
You can also create partnerships with other hospitality businesses, such as a popular restaurant in the area. When they share your hotel’s website with guests, and you do the same likewise, you can build local support while building your hotel’s recognition.
Begin building relationships by creating a mobile app that communicates with clients at offers a free nights stay when a guest books for more than three in a row.
Make it Easy to Book Through Social Media
If your hotel isn’t on social media, ask yourself why, and then create a business profile. Pages like Facebook and Instagram are one of the best ways to communicate with potential guests. You can promote your better rates and incentives but also quickly respond to questions and concerns. Your guests can also mae direct bookings with your hotel right there on your social media profile.